Sculpted marble headstone with sandstone ledger slab and brick vault beneath.
Reason for Listing
The monument to Sir Henry Knight Storks is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Design and craftsmanship: an impressive monument with high-quality relief carving relating to the deceased's military career
* Historical: commemorates a distinguished soldier and army reformer of the late C19
*Setting: it is located within the Grade I registered Highgate Cemetery and has group value with other listed tombs and structures nearby
Sir Henry Knight Storks (1811-74) was a senior army officer and civil servant. He served in South Africa and Turkey (where he oversaw the withdrawal of British troops at the end of the Crimean War) and, successively, as Governor of the Ionian islands, Malta and Jamaica. As Controller-in-Chief at the War Office from 1868 he was a leading supporter of Lord Cardwell's army reforms, which relaxed the terms of enlistment and abolished the purchase of commissions. Seeking to further Cardwell's cause in Parliament, Storks contested the Colchester by-election of 1870, and served a term as Liberal MP for Ripon in 1871-4; his standing in Liberal circles was damaged, however, by his support for the Contagious Diseases Acts, whose punitive anti-prostitution measures prompted a vigorous repeal campaign led by the feminist Josephine Butler.
Highgate Cemetery was the third of London's 'magnificent seven' burial grounds, a ring of suburban cemeteries established in the 1830s and 1840s to relieve pressure on overcrowded urban churchyards. It was the creation of the London Cemetery Company, a joint-stock company founded by the architect and engineer Stephen Geary and formally instituted by Act of Parliament in 1836. A seventeen-acre site on Highgate Hill was laid out as a picturesque garden cemetery with a network of serpentine drives, culminating in a monumental catacomb complex at the top of the hill. Geary himself supplied the initial plans, with assistance from the architect JB Bunning and from the landscape gardener David Ramsay. The cemetery, opened in 1839 and extended to the east of Swain's Lane in 1854, enjoyed great popularity and prestige during the second half of the C19 (famous occupants include George Eliot, Christina Rossetti and Karl Marx), but lack of money and maintenance led to a severe decline during the C20. Since 1975 it has been run on a charitable basis by the present Friends group.
The monument takes the form of a headstone with gabled top in the form of a Gothic aedicule, having a carved and moulded cornice above a pointed trefoil arch supported on cylindrical colonettes with leaf capitals. Within the aedicule are carved in high relief two crossed sabres, a laurel wreath and a badge displaying Storks' military honours, including the insignia of the Order of the Bath and the Order of St Michael and St George. The text below lists his many official appointments. In front of the headstone is a coped ledger slab set upon a brick vault, with small stone uprights (once linked by a chain) marking the boundary of the plot.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.